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Curriculum and Assessment

ASE provides support and advice to support science subject leaders, teachers and schools. Find out more about joining ASE.

Resources below have been selected by ASE's expert Assembly to support implementing changes to the curriculum and assessment in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Science Education Policy (See our science education policy section)

The UK nations are seeing continuous curriculum change currently. This following report gives details of the comparison of education policy in the UK nations.

Science Skills

UK-wide STEM education provision has been recognised as the key to ensuring that the 'science skills gap' is closed.

England - Main Guidance

Changes to the national curriculum in the form of Programmes of Study, came into force in September 2014, with KS4 content continuing to be linked to provision of new GCSE specifications from September 2016. New AS and A levels will be taught from September 2015. 

Ofsted recently published Maintaining Curiosity, a three year study of what’s good and what can be improved in primary and secondary science.

Exam Boards offering science courses: Overview of practical science assessment:

Northern Ireland - Main Guidance

All matters curriculum and assessment can be found at the Council for Curriculum Examinations and Assessment (CCEA)

There is some concern regarding the non-statutory nature of science. A recent report from the NI Assembly looks at the integration of history, geography and science as the World Around Us (WAU).

Additionally the inspectorate ETINI carried out a review into WAU curriculum, and made recommendations in January 2015.

New A-Level specifications are yet to be approved. Draft specifications for biology, chemistry and physics are on CCEA website:

AS and A level remain coupled, and both CCEA and WJEC will continue to assess practical skills directly worth 20%.

GCSE review will start later in 2015, there has been no decision yet to respond to the Ofqual practical work proposals.

Scotland - Main Guidance

Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence has given rise to new qualifications that started in 14-15 and more to come in 15-16.

  • This Infographic shows how these relate to existing qualifications.

There is support for National qualifications in Biology, Physics and Chemistry old and new. Principles and practice in science are key to the Curriculum for Excellence.

New research finds that pupils in Scotland are not being provided with the science equipment and resources to meets the demands of the curriculum and that teachers are insufficiently supported to teach science.

Wales - Main Guidance

All curriculum and assessment materials can be found at Learning Wales.

There was a recent review of curriculum and assessment arrangements from Foundation phase to KS4 conducted by Prof. Graham Donaldson. Further resources are being provided to support science as a result of this review.

ASE have published an article explaining the Welsh perspective

Reform to qualifications at AS/A2 and GCSE are ongoing, with WJEC been the only awarding body to agree to develop specifications for Wales.

Last updated 13 March 2015.